Interview avec Paul Gardner (Twinsanity)

Interview by: Darxae

Fake NinaIf you've ever been interested in Twinsanity and its long history, chances are you may have come across the legendary SpaceCat Trivia. That forum topic introduced the fandom to two of the people who worked in Twinsanity. They are, of course, SpaceCat and FakeNina, and they revealed a lot of development tales and great concept art years ago. The topic may no longer be active, but there are still many things that fans have been wondering for years, and now FakeNina answers some of the most frequently asked questions about Twinsanity.

Q: The original name for Twinsanity was "Crash Bandicoot: Unlimited", but there were other planned titles too, right?
A: We went through a lot of different titles before we chose Twinsanity; Fully-fluxed was another possibility. Eventually Vivendi gave us an ultimatum we had one hour to choose a title, or the title would be Unlimited. The title Twinsanity was SpaceCats idea; he came up with it with just five minutes left to spare. We couldnt decide between Twinsane and Twinsanity; it seems pretty obvious now.

Q: What can you tell about Crash Bandicoot Evolution?
A: Evolution began with Crashs island being stolen from the Earth by the Evil Twins and used as a jigsaw-piece in one giant planet made from pieces of others. The tone of the game was a bit more serious; the word edgy was used a lot to describe it. But when Ratchet and Clank was released Insomniac had had the same idea; their planet looked identical to ours, so we decided to start over, and concentrate on making a Crash game that was as funny as possible. We didnt want to be following another game, but to make a game that stood by itself a Crash Bandicoot game and nothing else.

Q: During the party cutscene, we can see some of the enemies from the old games and also an angry-looking Polar. Isn't Polar good? Why is he there?
A: Its kind of a throwaway joke; a joke on top of a joke on top of a joke. I liked the idea that maybe Polar was taking the opportunity to get revenge on Crash for riding him around during Crash 2. The idea for the whole scene was that this was going to be the last big boss fight between Crash and Cortex before they teamed up, so everybody would want to be there to see it. It was hard work to get so many characters in that one scene, but our super-talented lead artist Dan had built them all and we wanted to use them. The model for Polar is built from Naughty Dogs original model.

Q: Was Crunch going to have a more important role?
A: No, as far as I remember we never planned for Crunch to be playable. We put him in the party scene specifically because the Crash fans liked him so much and one Crash fan in particular (Tani Tiger I think?)
We used to spend a lot of time reading the Crash fan sites and message boards. That was what made me realize how important Crash was for a lot of people, and made us want to make as good a Crash game as we could.

Q: Were any other old characters planned to appear in Twinsanity (such as Fake Crash)?
A: Fake Crash was planned to appear in a cameo, shipwrecked on a tiny island that could be seen from the Battleship. I think there is a piece of concept art of the battleship that shows Fake Crash and Crunch stranded together.

Q: Initially there was a concept for a Good Cortex, much like there is an Evil Crash. What were the ideas behind that character?
A: We had a few ideas for Good Cortex; the first was in a reversal of Doc Amok called Mock-a-Doc, in which Crash beat and humiliated Good Dr. Cortex until he became evil again. The second idea was for him to appear in a cutscene, welcoming Crash and Evil Dr. Cortex to the 10th Dimension.

Q: There was also this character named Capu Capu. Who exactly was he?
A: Capu Capu was the Captain of the boat that carried Crash to the Iceberg Laboratory. He was another member of the native tribe. He was designed by SpaceCat and was built and ready to go in the game, but in development theres a point at which you have to stop adding new content to the game and make sure everything is stable (eh-hem), and it was just too late to add Capu Capu.

Q: What do you think of some of the new characters in Twinsanity (Farmer Ernest, Tikimon, etc.)?
A: To be honest I didnt like Farmer Ernest to begin with, but I love how he is used in the game he is exactly the right character to be shot with a raygun. Tikimon was designed and built by Dan, and I really like the design, and the mechanics of that bossfight.

Q: There's a picture in the SpaceCat Trivia that shows Nina with a different design. Was this how she was intended to look like?
A: Her original design was actually exactly as she appeared in the game. She wasnt going to appear in Twinsanity, since she was designed for a Crash racing game, but we really liked her and built her over one weekend. For that rough version we modified Dr. Cortexs body, so she was wearing a lab coat. When she finally was used for Twinsanity she was rebuilt to the correct design by our character artist Chris.

Q: At one point, Cortex almost refers to Nina as his daughter. What does this mean?
A: This was a joke added to make the relationship between Cortex and Nina mysterious. Is she his niece, or a secret daughter? Maybe one day well find out.

Q: Why exactly was the level Gone a Bit Coco deleted?
A: Gone a bit Coco was deleted for the same reason as Capu Capu it was just too close to the end of the game to guarantee that it would be finished and play without crashing. It was so close though, and it was a lot of fun to play. I wish it could have been included.

Q: Why was the punch attack from the demo removed?
A: We found it was too powerful, and could actually destroy some of the scenery! We had to delete it for our own safety.

Q: What's your opinion on the new designs done by Radical Entertainment?
A: Crash and the other characters look very different now; its hard for me to judge because I spent so long with the old characters. I would say that for any developer taking on an established character its important that they are given the license to take it in whatever direction they think is best. The team need to be able to feel that they own it; these games take years to make and the programmers, designers and artists have to feel invested in the characters in order to make a great game, so I appreciate and respect what Radical have done with Crash.

Q: To finalize, was TT-Oxford happy with Twinsanity? Any plans on ever working in the series again?
A: I think it was very challenging for us to make Twinsanity; it was our first game as a team, and for a lot of us it was our first game period. Looking back now I think that most of us feel it was a great experience and have a lot of affection for the game. I wouldnt say that were happy with it; theres so many things we wanted to do, and so many glitches(!), but I think we would all agree that it has a really great spirit to it, which I think was a result of the passion and energy the whole team put into Twinsanity. It feels like a handmade Crash Bandicoot game. Even when we were arguing it was always about how we could make the game better. It feels like it was made with love.

I dont know if TT will make another Crash game; its in Radicals capable hands now, but who knows what will happen in the future (apart from N. Tropy)?

I want to say that were all very grateful that Crash fans mostly seem to take Twinsanity as a continuation of Naughty Dogs Crash Bandicoot series. Naughty Dog and the fans are the two biggest things that inspired us in making Twinsanity, so Id like to thank you all. TTFN.

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